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Internet Scams via Instant Messaging

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It has been a while since I received a scam email (I love Gmail), but yesterday I received this one from the email address of an old work colleague I hadn’t seen in years:

From:        Mike (surname removed) <(email removed)@hotmail.com>


Date:        6 April 2009 12:40

Subject:    Hello

mailed-by:    hotmail.com


How are you doing? I am so sorry I didn’t inform you about my traveling to UK to visit my ill cousin. I am presently in London with my ill cousin, whom is a student here. she was diagnosed with a critical uterine fibroid. xray and scan states that her condition is deteriorating because the fibroid has done a lot of damages to her abdominal area, and an emergency hysterectomy surgery must be carried-out to save her life. I am deeply sorry for not writing or calling you before leaving,I took first flight to london, the news of her illness arrived to me as an emergency and that she needs family support to keep her going. I had little time to prepare or even to inform people about my trip, I hope you understand my plight and pardon me.

I will like you to plz assist me with a soft loan, of £1500 urgently to sort-out my Cousin’s bills, the hospital manangement is demanding for a deposit of £1500 before they will implement the surgery, i am travelling with little money because I never expected things to be the way it is right now. What scares me the most is that she is going through a lot of pain at the moment and the doctors have adviced that, it is necessary that the tumour is operated soon to avoid anything from going wrong. I will appreciate whatever you can afford to assist me with, since i don’t know your financial status at the moment. I’ll pay back as soon as i return.

I’ll be pleased to hear from you soon regarding my request and also my phone is currently off please i will call you when am back,i couldn’t roam the phone to uk,There was no time for that,reach me back through this email ASAP……..

Best Regards


Even though it was signed Michael, it was obviously a scam email because of the poor grammar. Plus if he really wanted money, he would have contacted me directly. I just ignored the email.

However, today I was contacted via instant messenger from Mike’s instant messenger account! “Mike” said that he was still in the UK and whether I could help him out with the email he sent yesterday. Unfortunately I didn’t save the actual chat log, but it went something like this:

Mike: hello

Me: Hi Mike, still in the UK with your sick cousin? 😛

Mike: yes

Mike: still in uk

Mike: can you help me with the email i sent you yesterday

Me: Are you still at ERG? (this is where we worked before, but he doesn’t work there any more)

Mike: ok

Mike: can you help

Me: I don’t believe you are Mike. Where did we meet?

Mike: erg

Me: What else can you tell me?


Me: If you are really Mike, give me a call

Mike: from uk

Me: yes. This conversation is over.

Cheeky scammers. After that I deleted him from my contacts and contacted the real Mike via Facebook to let him know his account was compromised. All the more reason to:

Update: A few days after receiving the scam email and IM, I lodged a scam report to the ACCC via their ScamWatch website.  They contacted me via phone a few days after that, saying that there is nothing they can do as it is from an international scammer and out of their jurisdiction.  Comforting, eh?

Written by Richard

7 April, 2009 at 12:58 pm

Posted in tech

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